As I sit here, listening to a little Casting Crowns (great group by the way) I’m doing my best to come up with something to write about. I’m sure a lot of people plan their posts in advance but not me. I like to sit down and let the idea flow in that moment. And right now there are no ideas flowing so ramblings it is!
Today has been a pretty good day! Went to church this morning, heard an excellent sermon by my pastor, went to the grocery story (which was a bad idea because not only is it the 1st of the month, the 4th of July is right around the corner) but we got out of the store unscathed and now I’m sitting here, listening to great songs and just relaxing until it’s time to head back to church for evening service.
My 13 year old nephew went to Camp Jacob this past week and I’m so excited for him, he got saved! He had an excellent time and met some wonderful kids his age who he is going to keep in touch with! Praise the Lord, He is so good!
My prayer for him now is that he will remain faithful to God and keep true to his decisions. He starts high school in the fall and without the proper guidance, it is so easy to fall away from the Lord. So that’s a prayer request to all who read this. Pray that he will grow in the Lord and remain faithful as he starts high school. He is so excited about his new faith and I’m so excited for him!
A song that I have recently come to love is To Know You by Casting Crowns. I’m not going to post the lyrics but I have posted the video which has the lyrics with it. I encourage you to check it out. It’s a great song with a powerful message. “To know You is to want to know You more”
I want to know Christ–yes to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.
Many Christians want the first half of this verse. They long to know Christ and his mighty power. But seldom do they think about the second part of the verse–suffering as He did. They don’t want that part.
But to know Christ…..to truly know Christ is to know his suffering. He suffered a bloody death on the cross for US! He was persecuted and shamed and rejected by men. He was mocked, abused and hated by many.
And still……he went through all the torture and abuse for who? Yes, that’s right. FOR US! Because His love is so great for us. His unconditional love for us will never end.
Are we going to suffer the way Christ did? Maybe not. But there are people in the world who ARE tortured and killed for their belief in God.
Paul tells us further in chapter 3 of Philippians to follow his (Paul’s) example:
15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Did you read verse 20? Our citizenship is in HEAVEN! We need to focus not on earthly things but on things above. Things of God. We are temporary citizens in this world. One day we will be in heaven, living with Christ forever. And ever.
When we get to heaven, our “lowly bodies” will be like his “glorious body!” Our worn down and falling apart bodies will be brand new! There will be NO pain, NO sickness, NO tears! Praise the Lord!
The Lord is coming back soon, people! We need to be ready? A quote I found sums it up:
Live as though Christ will return TODAY!
How is your relationship with Christ?
Are you walking with Him daily?
If you don’t know Christ as your Savior, please feel free to contact me so I can share with you the Good News! God loves you!
Although I will not apologize for being sick (because it makes no sense to apologize for something you have no control over), I will apologize for my rant yesterday. I was angry and upset and just needed to vent.
People have told me to “change my mindset.” I’ll admit, it angered me at first but maybe they’re right. However, changing my mindset doesn’t change the fact I suffer from a chronic illness and need help.
I will do my best to be more positive about my situation. I want to be positive. I really do. It’s just a struggle sometimes.
I don’t understand why I must have fibromyalgia and all these other health problems but I know that God is in control and will help me fight these battles. Perhaps He’s allowing me to go through this so that I may grow closer to Him, reaching out to Him always. To learn to depend on Him always.
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you
I Peter 5:7
My disability hearing is June 27th, at 9:15. I am very, very nervous. Because of my age I’m afraid I won’t receive a favorable outcome. I’m afraid the judge will look at me and figure I’m too young and that there are jobs out there I can do. But….there aren’t.
I can’t work retail anymore because I can’t stand on my feet for long periods of time anymore. And in retail they don’t let you sit down.
I can’t work in an office setting because I can’t sit down for long periods of time either. It’s a constant battle. I sit down for long periods of time and I get stiff. I hurt. My knees get totally stiff. I go to stand up and can barely walk.
I’m constantly tired. I actually take naps almost every day because it helps. I have to remind myself that it’s NOT laziness. I am resting my body. I know what my body needs.
I have a very hard time focusing on tasks. I get distracted very easily and end up getting up and finding something else to do. Then I get bored with that and move on. It’s a never ending cycle. It’s frustrating. But I’m trying hard to fight through it.
I guess what I’m saying is that I will try to change my attitude. It doesn’t change my situation and my problems but it will help get me through the day. I will rely on God more. I will lean on Him for support and trust in Him that He will get me through this.
A verse I’ve been reading nearly every day is found in Mark 11:24:
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer,believe that you have received it and it will be yours
Another verse that has been helping me is found in Psalm 37:4:
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
I’m praying hard for a favorable outcome at my hearing next Wednesday. But no matter what, I’ll keep trusting my Lord.
GOD is in control! He is with me in this storm and He will see me through. I don’t know the future but God does and He knows what’s best for me. I will praise Him in this storm!
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The maker of heaven and earth
Lord I want to feel your heart
And see the world through your eyes
I want to be your hands and feet
I want to live a life that leads
I love this song by Casting Crowns. It reminds me of the passage in Romans 10.
13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Last night in church, we were reminded that we are all ministers of the Gospel. We are called to serve and to preach the Good News.
I don’t know about you but I am constantly thinking about the Second Coming. I long for the day when I can see Jesus and live with Him for eternity.
But when will this happen? When will the end come? Well according to Matthew 24:14:
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come
I take that to mean that only when the last person has heard the Gospel, only when the last person has had the opportunity to make a decision for Christ that Christ will return for His children.
God longs for everyone to turn to Him. So let’s do our part and lead others to Him! Let’s have a heart for God’s people!
I sit here at my laptop and practically beg for the words to come. I want to write something good….something practical….something that will help someone else.
But the words just won’t come. I sit and stare at the blinking cursor and get agitated because the one thing I used to be good at, the one thing I could always count on was my writing. I used to have the ability to sit down and write til my heart was content.
Now it just feels forced.
I’ve always been told to “write what you know.” A problem I have with that is “what do I know??” “How do I know what I know?”
I am my own worst critic. I’ve been having a bit of a relapse with my bipolar disorder so that coupled with the ADHD is causing me to doubt myself.
Please bear with me as I struggle to get through this episode of self doubt and feelings of inadequacy.
(pity party table for 1?)
Perhaps I AM having a bit of a pity party. I’m sorry, I will try to do better.
I came across this verse in Philippians that really made me stop and think:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.
Maybe that’s why I’m having trouble finding the words. I’m trying to write for ME and not God. I know I’ve recently written about this before but I’m still struggling. Struggling with finding the right words.
I want my words to mean something to someone. I want my words to bring glory to God.
I want my words to point people to Jesus.
But my mind is all over the place. My mind races constantly and getting words out is a constant struggle. It’s taken me forever just to write this post. I’ve written a little then stopped to do something else, come back and written some more.
Can I ask all of you to please pray for me? I know this post has been all over the place but that’s the trouble with bipolar episodes. My mind races and I flit from one thought to the next in seconds.
Groeschel opens up the chapter with a story from his past regarding the time he met a young woman in college. As he got to know her, he grew more attracted to her and did what he could to impress her. Six months after meeting her, he proposed and 19 years later they are still together and happy as can be.
He uses that story to talk to us about how they know each other. However,
…despite how completely we know each other–even after nearly two decades–our intimacy continues to grow. We’re constantly learning how to connect and communicate deeply.
Believing Versus Knowing
Belief isn’t the same as personal knowledge
Groeschel continues by explaining the different levels of intimacy when it comes to knowing God.
“Some of us know God by reputation”
We know a little bit about God–we’ve gone to church a few times, heard the Bible stories. We may even have a favorite Bible verse.
This knowledge is only secondhand, however
“Some of us know God in our memories.”
“We’ve experienced his goodness, grace and love in the past.
“Some of us know God intimately.”
Right here, right now. It is THIS kind of loving knowledge that “God promises when we seek Him”
As we continue to seek God, we’ll grow to know him more and more intimately. When we hear God’s voice, we’ll recognize it instantly.
Not Knowing God
Believing God isn’t all He wants from us
In the book of James, it tells us that even the “demons believe in God, and yet they tremble because they know that they’re relationally separated from Him.”
Groeschel tells us there is more to being a Christian than just believing in God. We must experience God’s love. We must know him intimately.
He explains that growing up, he and his family were what you would call “cultural Christians.” They would go to church on Christmas and Easter. They’d help people in need. They donated canned goods to food drives. They’d pray at Thanksgiving meals.
But that was the extent of it. They knew about God. They didn’t know Him. And because Groeschel didn’t know God, he lived according to his own rules. He did what he wanted, not what God wanted. He didn’t have an intimate relationship with God.
In 1 John 2:3-4, it says,
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says “I know him” but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him.”
Harsh, right? Not according to Groeschel. He prefers to think of it as “straightforward and honest.” It is “truthfully spoken by someone who truly cares and wants what’s best for us.
We are created to be living examples of God’s love to a hurting world.
Knowing God can lead to positive lifestyle, but the reverse isn’t true.
Our outward actions alone don’t prove that we enjoy an inward relationship with God.
Groeschel urges us to make an effort to get to know God.
“God is interested not only in our actions but also in our hearts–in particular our attitude toward him.”
We can look good on the outside, make is seem like we love God but if our hearts aren’t there, if our hearts aren’t in the right place then when life is over, Jesus will say to us “I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers.” (Matthew 7:23)
Not Knowing God Well
In this section, Groeschel writes about when Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians. They had experienced the real, living God but had “recently become trapped in legalism.”
In other words they fell back into their old ways. “They knew God but not well enough to avoid getting sucked back into a life based in the law, rather than in love. In Galatians 4:8-9, it says “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning aback to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again.”
“In the 21st century, we would be wise to ask ourselves, ‘Is this us too?'”
Do you “sort of” know God?
Knowing God Intimately
Then there are those who “know God intimately and serve Him with their whole hearts.”
The psalmist, David, describes in Psalm 63:1-4 his relationship with God. In fact, he says that his experience of knowing the personal God creates a deeper longing for even more intimate knowledge of God.
David writes in the psalm “O God, you are my God” Did you catch that? David calls God “HIS God.” David continues to write, “Earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you.
What is David saying? He’s saying that there is absolutely nothing in this world that can satisfy him. Only GOD can totally satisfy.
Groeschel poses the question, “Have you ever felt that kind of love for someone? Now imagine that with God. Imagine that kind of love
Verse 3 says, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” Better than life? He’s saying ‘If I had the choice–either keep God’s love and see my mortal body die, or lose His love and live–I would choose to die.
Matthew 16:26 says, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
Or how about Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
What kind of love do you have for God?
It’s All in the Name
What do you call God?
If you know God, you are likely to be far more specific with him and the words you use will reflect your accurate understanding of him.
There are many, many, many names for God.
He’s known as Savior, Healer, Comforter, Fortress, Rock, Strength, Provider, Friend, etc. The list can go on and on.
The Best is Ahead
Groeschel writes that it’s time to “be honest with yourself and with God.
“Do you know Him? If so, how well?
“Has God transformed you? Are you different because of Him? If not, perhaps you’re a Christian Atheist.”
But guess what? God loves you so much and earnestly wants a relationship with you.
If you don’t know Him, you can! “Getting to know God is not difficult and it isn’t about a bunch of rules. Yes, God wants your obedience, but he wants your heart even more.
He says over and over again that if you seek Him, you will find Him.
How do you find God? By reading your Bible. He’s there. Pray. He’s there.
“As you get to know him better, you will change……Instead of living for yourself and for the moment, you’ll live for Christ and for eternity. Your heart will begin to break for the reasons and causes that break God’s heart.
“Get to know God. When you do, you will never be the same.
There was another school shooting today in Texas. My heart breaks for those who have lost loved ones.
WHEN WILL ALL OF THIS MADNESS STOP????
Well according to the Bible, it won’t end until Christ comes back. We live in a fallen world and it continues on its downward spiral into more evil each and every day.
While we do not know the day nor the hour in which Christ comes back, He does give some signs to look out for:
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Why does evil even exist? Simply put, because of Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden of Eden. The very second Eve took that bite, sin entered the world. The very moment that forbidden fruit touched their lips, it gave birth to a world of sin. Changing the world forever.
(Call me crazy but I’d like a word with Eve when I get to heaven! She had it made! She just HAD to eat that fruit! Thanks a lot, Eve!)
Because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, the lives of future generations became cursed. Women would now face the excruciating pain of childbirth. Men would experience a lifetime of hard labor.
All because curiosity got the best of them. All because they gave in to Satan’s lies and deceitfulness.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that as long as we live in this fallen world, tragedies are going to happen. Sin has overtaken this world and will remain until Christ comes back for His children. All we must do is persevere to the end. Remain faithful to Him. Fight the good fight. Finish the race.
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7-8
I long for His appearing…..don’t you? I’m so ready to see Him, to spend eternity with Him.
I want this blog to succeed. I really do. I want others to read it and come to know Christ as their personal Savior.
Or do I? Am I really blogging for Christ? Or am I blogging for myself and my glory?
I’m trying too hard to be something I’m not. Lately, it seems I’m trying too hard to bring glory to myself and not to God. I’m doing it without even realizing it.
Well God got my attention.
In my devotions this morning, I came across this quote from Mark Batterson
If you aren’t willing to listen to EVERYTHING God has to say, you eventually won’t hear ANYTHING He has to say.
That really got me to thinking. Am I truly listening to God when it comes to this blog? Am I listening to His still, small voice and waiting for HIS guidance on how to run this blog? Or am I only listening to bits and pieces?
Well that won’t work. I can’t just listen to the bits and pieces. I must listen to EVERYTHING God has to say.
I also realize that if I truly want to be a successful blogger, I must be committed. I can’t be halfhearted. Do I truly want this? Is blogging something I really want to do? I must decide this. More importantly, is blogging something GOD wants me to do? THAT is the question I must answer.
With my chronic illness, however, there will be days I can’t get on here. Which is why I must start blogging as much as I can on days I’m feeling my best. I’m not exactly feeling my best today but I’m fighting through the pain and through the brain fog to get this post out. Don’t get me wrong….I’m not trying to use my illness as an excuse. I’m just being realistic.
Basically it comes down to this: WHY do I blog? Am I blogging for Christ? Or am I blogging for myself?
All of us have weaknesses. It’s a part of being human. We’re going to slip up. It’s inevitable. Satan has a way of throwing our weaknesses in our face just when we least expect it, just when we think we have everything under control. He’s that sneaky. (What a jerk, am I right?)
But isn’t it great that we serve a God who is STRONG! We serve a God who accepts us for who we are, weaknesses and all. He loves us that much!
Grace wins in the end. Just putting that out there.
I thought I had a particular weakness under control until Satan decided to throw it in my face recently, causing me to stumble, reminding me how weak I truly am. I took my eyes off the Lord for just a second. For ONE second! That’s all it took! And now that weakness is threatening to consume me. That one second caused me to stumble, falling flat on my face.
But I’m reminded of the words by Mandisa in her song “Overcomer:”
You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ’til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when he reminds you
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer
Don’t quit, don’t give in
You’re an overcomer
As long as we live on this earth, we’re going to have to face our weaknesses and all the shame it may bring us. But praise Jesus, one day we will be made new in Him. One day we will be perfect and complete. And Satan will no longer be around to throw our weaknesses in our face, to laugh at us when we stumble and fall flat on our face.
We just have to keep fighting our battles until then. We have to keep our eyes on Christ. He will never cause us to stumble. But when Satan comes back around, and you know He will, if you stumble….just fall into the arms of Jesus. He overcame death on the cross so that we can overcome our weaknesses.